If I had said just six months ago that Google's position as the dominant search provider was at risk, you would probably have laughed. So entrenched has Google Search been as the go-to search engine, that the idea of a rival competing more evenly seemed impossible. However, a lot has happened in 2023 and Microsoft's Bing Chat is positioning itself as a major threat to Google's dominance.
For the first time in over two decades, Google is now playing catch up in terms of search market innovation. And it is all because of artificial intelligence (AI). To address Microsoft's recent AI push, which includes the release of the Bing Chat search AI in preview, Google is now reportedly working on bringing an AI chatbot and video curation to its search engine.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is turning to AI to make its search engine more “visual, snackable, personal, and human”.
Microsoft's Prometheus project led to the creation of Bing Chat which uses Microsoft's own AI with integrations from OpenAI AI models into the search engine. Those OpenAI integrations include GPT-4 and DALL-E. Introduced in February, Bing Chat has been a driving force – alongside ChatGPT – in the mainstreaming of AI large language models (LLCs).
Google Fighting Back to Stay Relevant
Google was taken by surprise by the launch of Bing Chat and rushed to announce Bard. That decision did not sit well with employees and the situation worsened when Bard mostly failed during its introduction demo.
CEO Sundar Pichai was also seemingly making strange decisions, such as forcing employees to test Bard for hours each day. In an interview, the CEO admits Bard is a prototype and will get better with time. It is clear Google's hand was forced and Pichai now suggests the company would prefer a slower approach to AI development.
Not since Google became the global leader in search and browsers, in the mid-2000s has the company faced a fight to stay relevant. Let's be clear, the company is not in immediate danger. Microsoft has seen Bing usage soar, but Google still handles over 90% of searches across mobile and PC.
It is unclear if Google Bard will become the AI that drives Google's integration into search. Google´s recently launched Bard-Chatbot has raised some controversy among content creators, who claim that the chatbot does not properly cite or link to the sources of its information. Bard is now available in limited preview for users in the United States.
It is a natural language processor (NLP) generative AI similar to ChatGPT. However, ChatGPT is more mature and has already been upgraded several times, currently running on the GPT-3.5 AI model from OpenAI.
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